Students from Acting Upon Faith Productions and Spirit of the Stage in Hammond won national awards and other recognition at the 2018 Junior Theater Festival Atlanta on Jan. 12-14 at the Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta.

The Junior Theater Festival Atlanta united 6,000-plus students and educators from 130 educational musical theater groups representing 30 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. In addition to presenting selections from shows for adjudication, participants took part in interactive workshops led by Broadway and West End professionals, gained from professional development, watched outstanding performances by fellow students and Broadway stars and enjoyed theatrical fellowship, a news release said.

Acting Upon Faith Productions’ Niccolo Bonura and Olivia Lowentritt and Spirit of the Stage’s Damien Wootan and Kamryn Hecker were named to the Junior Theater Festival All-Stars, made up of outstanding performers attending the festival. The All-Stars performed a song during the closing ceremony for all 6,000 festival attendees.

Acting Upon Faith

Acting Upon Faith Productions won a Freddie G award for Excellence in Dance.

The Acting Upon Faith Productions students, ages 12-18, presented selections from "Singin' in the Rain Jr." for performer Carol Worcel and music director, teacher, and vocal coach Bill Newberry.

Acting Upon Faith Productions is a performing arts academy under the guidance of First Presbyterian Church. Programs are in a Christian, spiritually-led environment and include lessons, musicals and recitals. Students at the competition included Julia Albright, Abbey Aldridge, Stephen Barksdale, Gabriel Bonura, Niccolo Bonura, Christian Butler, Jenna Duvic, Ian Hoover, MaryClaire Hoover, Olivia Lowentritt, Brady Meibaum, Emma Miranda, Katie Miranda, Isabella Mollega, Kyle Roth, Travis Settoon, Cami Wainwright, Taylor Wilkinson, Alex Woodworth and Elizabeth Zaffuto.

Spirit of the Stage

Spirit of the Stage won a Freddie G Award for Excellence in Music and Spirit of the Stage’s Elizabeth Mollega won a Freddie G award for Excellent Individual Performance by a Female.

The Spirit of the Stage students, ages 10-14, presented selections from Disney's "Beauty and the Beast Jr." for Michael Bobbit and educator Julia Magnasco.

Said Magnasco, “The Spirit of the Stage cast did an outstanding job developing characters — their relationships were very clear and the actors’ faces and bodies were connected. They had incredibly rich vocals. The song ‘Beauty and the Beast’ was executed well, with incredible dynamics and dancing.” Added Bobbit, “These voices will ring out loudly and will be starring on Broadway really soon.”

Spirit of the Stage is the drama club for Holy Ghost Catholic School. The students included Jude Allbright, Parker Amerson, Brennan Bankston, Bryn Beard, Anna Black, Olivia Brouillette, Carmen Brownlow, Konnor Burkes, Lance Cambre, Cross Carlisle, Paisley Collett, Brenley Cothern, Sarah Cusimano, Charleigh DePaula, Ashlynn Forrest, Ella Frazier, Ava Gangi, Angel Gaten, Ali Girard, Kamryn Hecker, Kate Henderson, Claire Hidalgo, Ragan Hoover, Megan Jones, Alyssa Labat, Cassidy Lemoine, Reagan Lemoine, Elizabeth Mollega, Braden Moore, Dominic Muguira, Jake Mullis, Nicholas Pevey, Rebecca Pisciotta, Mia Prima, Abby Ruiz, Madison Sedberry, Ryleigh Wallette and Damien Wootan.

The Spirit of the Stage 2018 Junior Theater Festival Atlanta team was led by director Suzanne Gautier and assistants Joell Jones and Nancy Heck.